An Eco Staycation

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Oh the green and sustainable places you’ll go. But why do we go, when we can stay?

Think about our carbon footprint, if we decide to leave footprints in the local sands. Think about the benefits if we invest in our local economy. Here are some local interest ideas to encourage your staycation.

The Back Bay can easily become an eco staycation. — Photo by Jim Collins

Newport Harbor is the largest recreational boat harbor on the West Coast, some 9,000 vessels anchored, a man made harbor with artificial islands many famous people call home. If you ride your bike down to the fun zone, you can board some tour boats that will take you by the homes of stars like Shirley Temple, Jed Clampett, Budddy Ebsen, or John Wayne. Hear the story about the Gillett family and why they physically split their home near the wedge.

There are many tour options to choose from. I like the one that takes you out by the Wedge so you can see Pirate’s Cove, the opening scene of Gilligan’s Island, where the crew of the SS Minnow set out for a three-hour tour that lasted 98 episodes.

This is necessary preparation. You need some believable points so when your out of town friends visit, you can take an eco ride in a Duffy, take family on an Eco adventure, take what you learned and toss in a few local color comments of your own.

Did you know that Vasco Nunez de Balboa was a Spanish conquistador and the first to navigate the Pacific Ocean seeking gold? The name Balboa is important when seeking local fun in the sun.

When done, take the Balboa Ferry from Balboa Peninsula. Get off your bike and enjoy the pedestrian-friendly Balboa Island. Head right and see the beautiful harbor, gorgeous homes and cool ocean breezes. If you turn left at Marine, you might need to stop at the local watering hole of the Village Inn. Part of sustainability is interacting with community. No better place than the VI, and continue down Marine to sample the local ice cream and support local merchants. What? You don’t have a cottage plate from Agate 108? That treasure will never see a landfill.

The Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce web site has these wonderful accolades to share about the beaches, “It comes as no surprise that a major resource in our city is our water—Newport Beach is comprised of 23 square miles of ocean. In fact, Newport Beach leads the county in water quality measures to ensure that beach goers can enjoy our natural resources. From the tide pools at Little Corona to the legendary surf at The Wedge, our beaches are as diverse as the people who visit them.”

If you can handle the blue water, get out there and fish or go whale watching.  There is no better place to engage the environment than out on the water, looking back at our coast. Look over at the oil platforms and wonder what will become of them at their end of life? Can we convert them into a platform for eco tourism? How cool would that be for a staycation?

Newport Beach boasts 47 parks, 10 community centers, 30 playgrounds, 19 athletic fields, 18 tennis courts, seven full basketball courts and eight half basketball courts.

The Back Bay sprawls across 800 acres of ecological reserve. There are nearly 200 species of birds. You can hike it, run it, bike it, kayak it or simply bird watch in the Back Bay.

You can head over to “Little Newport” on Irvine Avenue for nine holes under the lights and enjoy some awesome tacos at the Tea Room.

My buddy Chuck Perry and his wife recycle. They redeem their recyclables for cash. Then they repurpose their cash by investing in yard sale items. Not just any items, but items of value. A friend wanted a cast iron frying pan, happy birthday. They source crock pots and warming plates for youth sports. The recyclables are converted into reusable items, upcycling at its best.

And so, the moral of this story is that one can find plenty of eco activities right here in our own back yard. Hawaii is nice. Visiting family is a must. You need to be at a friend’s wedding. But can we utilize a staycation to explore our own rich and robust community?

Jim can be reached at [email protected].

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